Delson Armstrong, Rachael O'Brien, and Venerable Bhante Ananda
Delson answers questions about TWIM practice methods.
This 10-day, 9-night Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM) residential retreat spans Easter Holiday weekend. It will be led by Delson Armstrong, Rachael O'Brien, and Venerable Bhante Ananda. They offer clarify in teaching the principles of meditation and through the practice of TWIM. Their wise advise and coaching is key to develop insight and compassion in meditation experience in daily life, They are described in the earliest Buddhist texts. (see teachers bios) (updated 11/20/22)
Participants are instructed and guided in the practice of tranquil wisdom insight meditation TWIM. This is the method taught by the Buddha and described in the earliest Buddhist texts. TWIM is ideal for beginning students or advanced meditators seeking to cultivate greater clarity leading to nirvana. There is a primary focus on individual meditation practice. Daily morning talks by Rachael are directed toward gradual training with technique and methodology. Each evening Delson presents a selected discourse by the Buddha for analysis and discussion.
All three teachers provide an integrated and supportive environment for optimizing insight that leads to awakening as described by the Buddha. Eight precepts comprising a code of personal conduct are maintained in throughout the course in mindful silence with emphasis on lightheartedness. One-on-one personal interviews offer guidance and detailed instruction with both teachers on alternate days. This hands on approach to teaching enable participants to develop meditation skills balanced with analytical understand in the the process for awakening insight.
Delson Armstrong Delson is a distinguished meditation and Buddhist studies teacher leading retreats in TWIM. He dedicates his life to teaching the path to liberation through methodology laid out in the Buddhist sutras. Delson is known for his skillful guidance to the goal of liberating the mind—nirvana. His latest book; A Mind Without Craving, offers detailed exploration into the nature of reality, behavioral reprogramming, karma, rebirth, consciousness, and liberation of mind. More about Delson at www.DelsonArmstrong.info.
Beginning TWIM Instructions
The retreat is ideal for anyone seeking to experience the stages of insight or jhanas leading to liberation. Delson, Rachael, and Bhante Ananda embody a spirit of kindness and wisdom along with enthusiasm and sharing. Beginning and novice participants will be carefully guided and coached to progress smoothy along the path of insight and tranquility. Advanced meditations will receive incisive guidance toward the ultimate goal of meditation.
St. Francis Retreat Center
Located 83 miles south of San Francisco International Airport, St. Francis Retreat Center is situated on a sunny hillside only a few miles from the historic town of San Juan Bautista east of Monterey Bay.
The contemporary Spanish-style building complex is nestled among shade trees and vineyards on 70 acres of rolling hills and meadows. The spacious meditation hall includes optional indoor and outdoor practice areas ideal for deep and secluded meditation.
Comfortable single occupancy rooms include a private bathroom with shower comfortable beds, pillow, linens, blankets, and towels with washcloth and bar soap. A desk with reading lights provide cozy and warm accommodation on chilly California nights.
The dining room offers spacious indoor and outdoor patio seating with panormaic views of lawns and gardens. Two meals a day are served buffet style. Both offer vegetarian or meat/fish entrees with a gluten-free options including salads, fruits, and side dishes Hot and cold beverages including tea, hot chocolate, and coffee are available 24/7. Refrigerated food storage is available to those with special dietary needs aor eating disorders that require supplementing.
Interview with Delson on neuroscience & jhanas.
Practice Schedule Practice times, rest periods, and mealtimes are based on individual goals of the retreat. Participants are required to attend the morning group meditation and evening presentation by Delson and others in meditation. Of course, be prompt for personal interviews by arriving early in the waiting area outside the conference room. Self direct periods of sitting and walking meditation will be suggested by the teachers baed on individual needs and interests. There is abundant Indoor and outdoor practice room for practice.
FIRST DAY______________ 3:15 - 4:30 Check in 5:00 - 6:00 Orientation by Staff 6:00 - 6:45 Dinner 7:00 - 8:00 Introduction 8:00 - Meditation or bed
DAILY SCHEDULE_________ 5:00 am Wake up 5:30 am Precepts and Group meditation 7:30 am Breakfast 8:30 am The mechanics to meditation and discussion — Rachael 12:00 pm Lunch 1:30 pm Self-directed meditation 5:30 pm Tea Break 6:00 pm Presentation, analysis, and discussion of early Buddhist suttas — Delson 8:00 pm Self-directed meditation 10:00 pm Further practice or bed
LAST DAY_______________ 5:30 - 7:00 Group Meditation and Closing 7:30 - 9:00 Breakfast & Socializing 10:00 Departure
Update September 11, 2022 We recently received information from Delson that might have bearing on your decision to attend. He will be in India until just a few days prior to the Easter retreat. While the possibility is remote, there is a small chance that Delson will be delayed in India and therefore may not be able to teach the Easter retreat in person. Should this very unlikely event occur, Delson intends to teach the Easter Retreat and conduct personal interviews by livestream from India. In any event, Rachael O'Brien will teach the Easter Retreat in person and will interview each of you in person. There will be no change to the schedule posted on the Easter Retreat website. https://www.awakeninsightretreats.org/easter-retreat-2023.html
Again, in all likelihood, Delson will be able to leave India on schedule and will teach the Easter Retreat in person. However, I want to make you aware of the small possibility that he will not make it to the retreat to teach in person.
Your reservation will be confirmed by email within 10-day of submission.
Enrollment is restricted to single occupancy single occupancy lodging located on SFR premises.
Applicants will be automatically placed on a waiting list when the retreat is filled and emailed confirmation.
Payment Single Occupancy = $1415, Deposit Required = $500
This is a non-profit retreat. The teachings are free of charge. The fees paid only covers fixed costs at St. Francis for food, lodging, insurance, and airfare for teachers. The retreat is administered and staffed entirely by volunteers. Delson Bhante Ananda offer the teachings freely but relies on generous donations to sustain their ability to help others.
Pay fees only after your registration has been confirmed by email.
Payment / Refund Policy
Pay deposit by December 1, 2022.
Final payment is due date extended to January 15, 2023.
If the retreat is cancelled for reasons beyond our control, payments made will be refunded minus the standard bank processing fee of 2.9% and will be credited to the original source of payment within ten banking days.
Cancellations before February 1, 2023 will be refunded. Full refunds minus at the standard bank processing fee of 2.9% and credited directly to source of payment within 30 banking days of cancellation notice.
Cancellations after February 1, 2023 may have fees applied as payment for future retreats or symposiums hosted by the TWIM Foundation collective in the U.S. for up to 12 months following the retreat. Alternatively, fees may be donated to the retreat leaders.
For more information contact admin@TWIM.Foundation.
Travel by Air
Those arriving SFO by air may reserve ground transportation are responsible to email their arrival and departure information to the retreat manager. Late arrivals or those arriving at Oakland or San Jose airports are responsible for their personal transportation to the retreat center and return at their own expense. All travelers are advised to check in for departing flights 90 minutes before domestic departures and 2 hours for international departures.
Group ground transportation For your convenience, a passenger van service will provide round trip shuttle to and from the retreat center. Reservations require a $140 per person fee payable in full March 1, 2023. Contact the retreat manager for registration and payment instructions. Those requiring ground transportation must coordinate flight arrival and departure times with the retreat managers before booking airline or hotel reservations.
Departure from San Francisco: Friday, April 7, San Francisco to St. Francis Retreat Pick up Point #1: 1:00 PM. Pickup, San Francisco Airport International Terminal, Arrivals, Door 5 Pick up Point #2: 1:15 PM, Pick up, The Mlwood Hotel and Suites, 1375 El Camino Real, Millbrae, California, 94030 3:15 PM, Arrive to St. Francis Retreat for check-in and orientation
Return to San Francisco: Sunday, April 16, St. Francis Retreat to San Francisco 10:00 AM, Depart St. Francis Drop-off Point #1: 11:45 AM, San Francisco airport departure terminals Drop-off Point #2: 12:15 PM, The Milwood Hotel and Suites 1375 El Camino Real, Millbrae, California, 94030
Arrivals by air should make flight and hotel reservations with adequate time to connect with either private transportation or ground transportation contracted by retreat staff.
Hotels near SFO Early arrivals or staying overs are advised to select a hotel from the list below. These are modestly priced hotels that offer courtesy airport shuttle service, wi-fi, and complementary breakfast. Cheaper rates may be available through Hotels.com. Kayak.com, and other Web-based portals.
The hotels listed below are located only a few miles proximity of SFO in a commercial district with nearby restaurants.
Millwood Inn & Suites 1375 El Camino Real, Millbrae, California 94030 Contact: 650-583-3935 Email: email@example.com
Days Inn San Francisco International Airport West 1550 El Camino Real, San Bruno, California 94066 Contact: 650-616-9600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
La Quinta Inn & Suites, San Francisco Airport West 1390 El Camino Real Millbrae, CA 94030 Phone: 1-650-952-3200
Driving directions St. Francis Retreat 549 Mission Vineyard Rd, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045
From SFO drive south on Highway 101 for 80 miles. 1. Exit Hwy 101 onto Hwy 156 East at the San Juan Bautista/Hollister exit 2. After about 3 miles on 156, turn right at the signal onto The Alameda 3. Pass the San Juan Inn and Old San Juan Hollister Road 4. Turn left onto Mission Vineyard Road, continue straight about 0.8 miles. 5. At the indicated bend begin private drive (Retreat /Hedges). The Center is about 1.5 miles from this point. Take the second driveway and continue to the lower parking lot.
From I-5 1. Exit onto CA-152 W/E Pacheco Blvd. and continue to follow CA-152 W for 35.3 mi 2. Keep left to continue on Hwy 156 W/CA-156 W, follow signs for Hollister,14.1 mi 3. Follow Mission Vineyard Rd to your destination 2.2 mi 4. Turn left onto Old San Juan Hollister Rd 253 ft 5. Turn left onto Mission Vineyard Rd 0.5 mi 6. Turn left to stay on Mission Vineyard Rd 0.3 mi 7. Turn right to stay on Mission Vineyard Rd 1.2 mile
Arrival and check-in Check in at St. Francis opens at 3:15 PM. Plan to arrive at the center between 3:00 and 4:00 PM to check in on the first day. The center is closed to participant until 3:00 PM. Parking is available next to the lower building. The Fireside Room in the lower building is group meditation and Dhamma talks. On the first day, orientation, begins at 5:00 PM followed by dinner at 6:00PM, and Delson's introduction at 7:00 PM.
The retreat ends after the morning meditation on the last day of the retreat with time for breakfast, socialize, take photos, and pack. Those returning by van SFO and neighboring hotels will depart at 10:oo AM.
Emergency Contact Numbers There is no public phone on the facility. If your family needs to reach you in an emergency, they may call these emergency contact numbers. Retreat Manager, Scott Jordan cell phone: 415-250-5294 St. Francis Retreat business office phone: 831-623-4234 St. Francis Retreat emergency after hours phone: 831-207-7042
Detailed Retreat Information What to Wear:The weather in San Juan Bautista in April is typically sunny with cool, clear nights. The average daytime temperature is 72ºF (20ºC). Nighttime average low temperature is 45ºF (8ºC). Rain is likely so be prepared and bring and umbrella or other wet weather gear for walking outdoors. Bring comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, such as sweat pants with elastic waistband. Be prepared with layers that can be added or removed. A warm jacket is needed for cold nights and evening walking meditation. Comfortable slip-on shoes are appropriate for walking around the compound. Headgear, such as a hat with a brim, and sunglasses are handy for sunny days.
What to Bring for Meditation: Chairs for sitting will be provided in the meditation hall. You may wish to bring your own special chair along with meditation cushions or pillows, benches, and floor pads. House-slippers and warm socks are appropriate in the meditation hall. Bring a shawl or small blanket for both indoor and outdoor seated meditations in the gardens and patio areas.
Other Necessities to Bring: Bed linens, blankets, and towels are provided by the center. You may want to bring a special personal pillow or blanket, if desired. Bring personal toiletries (toothpaste, bath soap, sunscreen, Kleenex, etc), flashlight or headlamp, an alarm clock or watch with an alarm, and a water bottle to be filled at the center with filtered water as needed. There will be wake up and notification bell to announce meals and group gatherings. COVID-19 supplies as specified if required. What to Leave at Home: Do not bring valuables, nonprescription drugs or alcohol. Do not bring food, unless you have made prior arrangements with the retreat managers for accommodation of special dietary needs.
Avoid using scented cosmetics or perfumes that may be allergenic to others. Reading and writing are discouraged during this training period, except during the evening dhamma talks. Candles, incense, and smoking are not allowed in any building or room.
Clocks and Phones: Please attend to personal matters before coming so a not to hamper progress in mediation. To support the practice of silence, participants’ cell phones and tablets, and computers will be collected at the beginning of the retreat and held in a secure area until breakfast on the last day of the retreat.
Emergency Phone Numbers: There is no public phone on the facility. If your family needs to reach you in an emergency, they may call these emergency contact numbers. Retreat Manager, Scott Jordan cell phone: 415-250-5294 St. Francis Retreat business office phone: 831-623-4234 St. Francis Retreat emergency after hours phone: 831-207-7042
Interacting with Delson and Monastics Physical contact: Refrain from shaking hands or hugs. Greeting: The traditional greeting is to have both hands held together in an attitude of prayer. Entering a room: Please be seated before starting a conversation. Stand up when the teacher enters or leave the room to demonstrate respect. Remain standing until he or she is seated or has departed. Attentiveness: Please do not cross your arms or legs during the conversation. It is considered rude to point the soles of your feet at a Buddha image, monk, nun or lay teacher. Timeliness: Be present and seated at the scheduled starting time and plan your questions in advance, to respect the end time. Conversation topics: Though you’re welcome to have enjoyable conversations about the dhamma and the practice, refrain from asking personal or potential non reverent questions. As an example, this includes asking for value statements about other practices or religions, about individual attainments or about potentially controversial topics (i.e. COVID). Generosity: There is no need or expectation, but donations (dana) is gratefully accepted. Dhammācariya Sobhana lives by the Dhamma. Your generosity directly supports his ability to teach. Though physical gifts appreciated, they are impractical while he travels.
Simplicity and Renunciation Meditation retreats offer a sacred space that is protected and removed from the world. They allow participants a rare opportunity to look deeply inside, quiet the mind, and open the heart. Often the most beneficial and rewarding experiences of spiritual life happen at a meditation retreat. The sheltered and quiet setting is a key element that enables participants to develop patience, steadfastness, loving-kindness, generosity, joy, and wisdom. These are the seeds that grow insight, compassion, and happiness. Participants are requested to let go of concerns for daily life and embrace an attitude of simplicity and renunciation by adopting a traditional spiritual practice that is called “taking what is offered.”
Taking What is Offered
Taking any Residence – whatever quarters are offered. We ask participants to happily accept the accommodation assigned and continue to practice in this spirit throughout the retreat.
Taking Food that is Offered – Happily accepting food that is offered is part of the practice. The cook lovingly prepares tasty and nutritious meals. Gluten-free alternatives will be available for those with medically required dietary restrictions. Participants with other special dietary needs may arrange with the retreat manager to bring supplemental food items with them to the retreat. Food items are prohibited in rooms and the meditation hall. The kitchen is restricted to St. Francis staff.
Silence – In fostering an atmosphere of contemplation and meditation, participants are expected to embrace the practice of silence during the retreat. Living in silence is the practice of observing within and not communicating with others. This includes reading or writing, using telephones, computer, email, or text messages. Talking is permitted during the evening dhamma talks and teacher interviews when questions are encouraged. Inquiries about the retreat may be directed to a retreat manager or whenever necessary in the case of an emergency.
Serving the Community – Participants may volunteer for community duties as a daily period of meditation in action. This activity acquaints participants and helps the retreat function move smoothly. A sign-up sheet for daily retreat jobs will be available at registration.
Simplicity and Renunciation print version download
There are currently no COVID-19 public health safety state or local mandates. There is no vaccination requirements at St. Francis Retreat Center. They request that masks be worn with entering and exiting the dining room along with while selecting food at the buffet. As a precaution, we ask that participants home-test prior to arrival. As an additional safety measure, take another home test on the morning of the second and third day of the retreat. Masks will not be required in meditation areas or dormitories unless mandated by state or local public health safety laws at the time of the retreat. Registered participants will be notified if mandatory requirements change.